I have a confession. I married a man who likes comfortable shoes. It’s a chronic condition, and apparently there’s no cure. His mom told me he was pretty much born that way. His need for comfort pretty much informs all of his shoe-buying decisions, but it came to a head one night, when he decided he needed to let go of a new pair of Ferragamo dress shoes.
“Are you giving those away?”
“Yeah, I can’t wear them. They hurt my feet.”
“But they’re flat.”
“They pinch and I can’t walk in them.”
“But they’re flat.”
“I can’t wiggle my toes.”
“But they’re flat.”
I may be paraphrasing a little bit, but the conversation went pretty much exactly like that.
I didn’t say what I was really thinking: “Comfort should not be your first priority so if they are cool you should wear them and they are cool because I chose them for you and by the way all flat shoes are comfortable because they’re flat and how you can complain when I wear stilettos and you don’t hear me complaining and I haven’t felt my feet since I was 17 but I have my priorities straight and would never walk away from a pair of expensive designer shoes because they pinched my feet or whatever.”
I said none of this, but he knew. He backed out of the room, muttering something about arch support.
So here’s the BeautyMommy position on flats: “When in doubt, wear heels.”
Okay, so that’s not exactly taking a stand.
I see flats the way I see floss. Occasionally necessary, but not fun. Can they be cute? Of course. Adorable, even. But they lack swagger and sass and the ability to make your legs look miles long. Still, this season, flats are everywhere, and flat sandals in particular have that breezy beachy vibe that everyone loves in the summer. Plus, they’re an excellent substitute for these.
And especially these:
Now that the unpleasantness is behind us, let’s move on, shall we? Here, a glossary of the styles, and the 10 best sandals under $50.
1. Gladiator Sandal
Definition: Open-toed t-bar style with multiple straps running across the foot and around the ankle.
If your legs are short, beware of ankle straps, which can cut your legs off and make them appear shorter. To counteract this, choose a style in a nude color. Gladiators with straps that go all the way up the leg are actually lengthening, however. Also, some of them can be a pain to lace up.
2. Single Strap Sandal
Definition: An open toe style with a single strap across the top.
This is one of the most versatile styles, and therefore one of the most popular. Many of these feature ankle straps as well. These are easy to wear with everything from shorts to skirts and dresses.
3. Double Strap Sandal
Definition: An open toe style with two straps across the top.
This super-trendy style tends to be a little more casual, and comes in everything from a slip-on slide to an ankle-strap style.
4. Classic Sandal
Definition: An old-fashioned schoolgirl favorite, reimagined for grown-ups.
Versatile, this style can be worn with everything, and pairs particularly well with the season’s boho styles.
5. Avarcas-Style Sandals
Definition: A traditional Spanish style featuring a wide strap with an open toe.
True Avarcas sandals are handmade in Spain and, while still affordable, are usually more than $50. These styles offer the look without the price.
6. Flatform Sandals
Definition: Any sandal featuring a thick, flat platform sole.
Flatforms are super-trendy and part of the whole “ugly shoe” thing going on in fashion right now. These options are a little less extreme and easier to wear than most.
Definition: A leather sandal with an upper consisting of woven strips, originally worn by Mexican Indians, according to Google
A close cousin to the fisherman sandal (and often misnamed as one), huaraches usually feature closely woven strips of leather that cover much of the foot – great for days when your pedicure is past its prime!
8. Fisherman Sandals
Definition: A traditional style featuring woven strips of leather in a more open design that usually covers the toe.
Another smart choice when you want to cover your toes, a modern fisherman style is pretty and feminine, in spite of its name. These are a little bit more casual, but work great with sundresses and shorts alike.
9. T-Strap Sandals
Definition: A sandal with straps in the shape of a T, with one central strap running the length of the shoe.
T-straps are classic and girly, and can be dressed up more easily than other styles.
Definition: A slip-on style with no straps at the back.
These got their start with the rubber sporty styles a couple of years back, but fortunately, they’ve been upgraded. These styles are feminine and can be worn with virtually anything.
Sure, you can still wear the thong sandals you’ve loved for the past few years, but with so many tempting new sandal styles in stores, you may want to make your next pair one of these 10 trendy styles.